We all make mistakes, sadly me more than most, but when I read Julie Bindel's piece yesterday in The Critic, I must admit I was more than disappointed.
In what I can only assume was a quickly knocked out piece Julie implies that the FiLiA event in my home city, which starts tomorrow, October 16th is a 'lilly white' affair saying this:
This weekend, the largest annual grassroots feminist conference in Europe will take place in Portsmouth, organised by the charity FiLiA. Over a thousand women and a few men will hear speakers from around the world on a huge range of topics: domestic abuse, women and disability, the sexualisation of young girls, maternal health, the political participation of migrant women, women and religious fundamentalism, and lesbian spaces, to name but a few.
As an avid feminist, Julie's portrayal of the FiLiA Conference should, of course, ring many of my bells; I should be inside the hall.
But I won't - instead, I will be outside the event location (Portsmouth Guildhall), saying my own words at around 11:15 in the Square.
Well, firstly because FiLiA openly admits they support LGB Alliance.
Need I say more?
Red rag to a bull?
And then there are those headline speakers Maya Forstater, for instance ...now what words is she synonymous for, ah yes " views were ‘not worthy of respect in a democratic society’.
Or how about that QC from Scotland Joanna Cherry - an avid campaigner against Self-ID in relation to Scotland's reform of the Gender Recognition Act. Such a high-level protestor that there have been calls for her to be thrown out of the SNP by an MP in her own party!
I could go on and on, but time is tight today, I am in for a busy weekend, all thanks to FiLiA.
So let's be clear here.
Julie Bindel's piece may in part be accurate, but it is far from the whole truth. What's that phrase ah, yes "economical with the truth" - a bit like Boris's red bus and that 350 million quid.
Julie's article attacks Portsmouth's independent local councillor Claire Udy, someone I first met at a Reclaim The Streets vigil after the murder of Sabina Nessa. Not a gender-critical person in my sight that day - says a lot.
Violence against Women and Girls - where were you?
Julie's article suggests that Claire Udy is solely responsible for tomorrows event. This is untrue, and I would also add many people in Portsmouth across the political divide have lots of respect for Claire - she calls a spade a spade.
At first, I thought I was the only person upset about the FiLiA event. Still, slowly, indeed, very slowly, more individuals and groups appeared, and just yesterday, a fifth group came onto my radar.
The UK is being called out internationally from within the US, EU and UN - principally because of gender-critical voices!
For sure, those of us outside don't all share the same opinions, like gender-crits we are divided, and at one point, it looked like one group would not even talk to me because I was a Labour Party member who they see as a party that condones transphobia.
But ALL the people standing outside Portsmouth Guildhall tomorrow are doing so for just one reason.
All believe that transphobia should be eradicated in society.
Transphobia - the PREJUDICE against trans people.
Why can't gender crits get that through their thick heads?
And when an organisation platforms gender-critical speakers, what else can you expect other than a response?
There is no Ash Sarkar, no Zarah Sultana, no Nadia Whittome - there are Forstater, Cherry et al.
So please, Julie Bindel let's keep to facts, and that fact is FiLiA are getting better than they were in relation to trans rights - but they are most certainly not the W I.
If FiLiA were all about what you claimed in your piece, I would be buying a ticket.
But very sadly, they are not, so get real.
Let's hope by the time they organise their next conference, they start to listen to trans people, and I agree, we listen back.
Until next time.
Authored by Steph @PlaceSteph